Thomas Van Cott (aka Saint Pat) is a comedian, poet, actor, and writer. His writing career started young and in the mid-2000’s he co-opened and helped bring poetry slam to the faithful in Jersey City. He’s is a father to two young ones (12 & 1), who he adores to bits, with a full time day career, which, in combination pulls him every which way, away from the craft of writing and performing.
FB ‘The Last Laugh Comedy Show’ [HERE]
But as a grown man and a very much straight forward talking kind of guy, he’s dealt with his life’s situations: as they have come at him, and most of time, in anticipation of them.
The road surely has been a challenging one. And he recognizes that we ALL go through difficulties. Challenges, though he says ‘brings him gifts and opportunities to grow’. His growth of art, skills, laughter, smiles, and within life, in general.
We got to meet Saint Pat, for the first time, and shared a bit of talk, at Skinner’s Loft on Newark Ave (Grove St) Jersey City.
You’ll be returning to the spotlight at the April 25th show @ LITM as part of the Jersey City Poetry Festival. How do you think your set will be like?
The set should be 20-25 minutes of comedic poetry. There should be something to talk about, then segway into poems.
What are your memories of the Jersey City spoken word scene way back when?
When I got to jersey city, was 2010…was very artsy back then. The way that things are moving these days, it seems like it’s coming back to the flow, where there’s a cyclical return to the artistic scene.
But then you slightly changed spoken word, to the comedic realms. Why so?
I’ve transitioned form that scene because (after a while, the scene) seemed to me like the same topics are being discussed over and over again. When I originally got into it, I did it because I loved writing…wanted to really explore the different genres and topics on that platform. So I always tried to do a more personal piece, character piece, historic pieces…so many avenues (to explore). So, I’d been steering away from spoken word and more towards comedy: skit comedy and standup. You know, I want to tell you what I think.
So did Comedy afford you some better pastures to do your thing?
Comedy is more of an outlet (for me), which helps me to move on. I can lean towards challenging the audience. I don’t mind the uncomfortable silence. Society would frown upon this, I can’t help myself. There are some concepts that are inherently funny. (We’re many times) pushed and prodded into smaller and smaller space. I challenge that. I’m not part of the system. I don’t subscribe. Embrace what’s funny (I say), despite social norms. If I can make you physically hurt, then that is success. If someone doesn’t like what I say, that’s success as well.
Your life has evolved and changed as you’ve grown up. Responsibilities have changed. How are those challenges effecting your craft?
It is at times manageable. Sometimes I want to explode. I go through phases. I get great amount of joy out of my kids. Son 12, daughter 1, but having passion for a certain craft, is another pastime that is always at the back of my day to day. But the writing never goes away.
Saint Pat added that he just wants to enjoy his developed ‘materials’. (Whether stage work, or in a manuscript), he does it because he enjoys them first. He asserted that there are many things that don’t get written down, or formulated to the best of its abilities. But those concepts rustle through his mind every day, every hour. Some get caught and is interesting enough for him to extend the time he puts into it. Or, at the least, he has a few chuckles and enjoys that joke or concept – then lets them go into the ether.
Saint Pat is currently working on a memoir / ‘best-of’ book on the years between 2007-2013, when he was magnetically involved in the spoken word poetry Slam movement/scene, in Jersey City. In the book he intends to describe the inspirations of some of the poems, their back stories, and how it intertwined with his own experiences in the area.
He will be co-featured on the bill for the upcoming April 25th ‘The Last Laugh Comedy Show’ presented by Ghost Bear Productions. Thomas Fucaloro will be co-featured with him for the 8pm show, with performers Georges Garcon Jr, Deinse Marinez, John Minus, and Nia Rey.
The event is in association with: Office Of Cultural Affairs Jersey City, City Of Jersey City, Jersey City Arts Council, comeherefloyd.com, and LITM Bar & Restaurant.